The status of Early Childhood Development (ECD) in Lebanon
- Lebanon has achieved near universal prenatal (95%) and skilled delivery care (98%).
- Neonatal and infant mortality are low in Lebanon.
- But just half of children (51%) have received all their immunizations by age 1. This leaves the other half at risk of mortality, illness, and impaired development.
- One in ten children is stunted.
Figure 1. Early childhood development indicators for Lebanon (%)
Source: Authors’ calculations based on Lebanon PAPFAM 2004
Children in Lebanon have unequal opportunities of healthy development based on factors beyond their control.
There are substantial differences in the opportunities children have of healthy development and accumulating human capital. Early childhood is when cycles of poverty and inequality are transmitted across generations. Children tend to be consistently advantaged or disadvantaged across a variety of different dimensions of ECD, and can face very different life chances based on just a few family background characteristics. If we observe a child who lives in the poorest 20% of households, with uneducated parents (a “least advantaged” child) and compare that child to one with parents with secondary or higher education from the richest 20% of households (a “most advantaged” child), we find that they have different chances of healthy ECD. Figure 2 presents the chances (predicted chance) of different ECD indicators for these “least advantaged” and “most advantaged” individuals.
Children in Lebanon face very different opportunities for healthy development based on just a few background characteristics. Lebanon has universally high rates of deliveries with skilled birth attendants. Infant and neonatal mortality cannot be worked out, however, given their sample size and low rates. In terms of prenatal care, immunizations, and stunting, there are substantial differences in the opportunities children face for healthy development and accumulating human capital. Comparing the least to the most advantaged children, a least advantaged child has a 60% chance of receiving prenatal care, while a most advantaged child has a 100% chance, a 40 percentage point difference. While a least advantaged child has a 12% chance of being fully immunized, a most advantaged child has a 79% chance. A least advantaged child has a 27% chance of being stunted while a most advantaged child has an 8% chance. The most advantaged child is six times more likely to be fully immunized, and a third as likely to be stunted.
Figure 2. Inequality in the chances for healthy early childhood development (%)
Source: Authors’ simulations of chances for a “most advantaged” and a “least advantaged” child based on calculations using Lebanon PAPFAM 2004